Access and career of public servants: the specific case of prosecutors in France

The judiciary system offers a specific example of how careers evolve in the public sector in France. Magistrate can always choose between a career as a prosecutor or as a magistrate. This paper addresses the following issues: on the demand side, what variables do affect this choice, and on the supply side, is it efficient to restrict the choice to one specific career? In order to become a prosecutor rather than a magistrate: is there a specific skill to acquire, and to invest in? This issue is relevant in the French debate where prosecutors and magistrates are hired through the same school and the same rules of careers. We invest this issue through three different data sources. We find that there is no evidence of a specific skill but rather a choice, an exogenous preference linked to age or matrimonial status, or a preference revealed by experience. Thus we find no efficiency argument in favor of segmentation between prosecutors and magistrate.

Audier.F, Bacache.M, Socio-Économie du Travail n°30 (Économies et Sociétés, tome XLII), janvier 2009, p.27-54.

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